Janus Spectra in Two-Dimensional Flows

Chien Chia Liu, Rory T. Cerbus, Pinaki Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In large-scale atmospheric flows, soap-film flows, and other two-dimensional flows, the exponent of the turbulent energy spectra, α, may theoretically take either of two distinct values, 3 or 5/3, but measurements downstream of obstacles have invariably revealed α=3. Here we report experiments on soap-film flows where downstream of obstacles there exists a sizable interval in which α transitions from 3 to 5/3 for the streamwise fluctuations but remains equal to 3 for the transverse fluctuations, as if two mutually independent turbulent fields of disparate dynamics were concurrently active within the flow. This species of turbulent energy spectra, which we term the Janus spectra, has never been observed or predicted theoretically. Our results may open up new vistas in the study of turbulence and geophysical flows.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114502
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2016


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